Living as I do just over an hours drive away from Durdle Door it's hard to believe I've never taken the time to visit it before.
For a long time I thought that the only way to it was what looked like a very hard slog up and over the hill from Lulworth Cove. Even without camera gear this would have been a bugger of a climb. My other reason for not going before is because it's been so well photographed, so very well photographed. I've seem some breathtaking photos of it, so much better than anything I'd be able to capture. So I needed a reason, and that very thing happened on 1st October for the Festival of Light.
It was a glorious evening, a perfect sky, with not a cloud in sight.
I made my way over to the western most accessible cliff top, staked my claim on a spot and waited for the sun to set, and the lights to come on.
The climb back up was an arse. I had to keep stopping to pretend to look at the view while I was really catching my breath. Nearing exhaustion at the top of the hill, I decided to sit down and see if I could get any milky way images.
It was then that I noticed what seemed to be a search and rescue helicopter making its way very slowly over the water from Portland. I figured it was on a training exercise, perhaps testing out some new lights. For over 10 minutes it was hovering nearby, just far enough away for the downdraught not to flatten me. I even managed to capture a long exposure image of it.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the sounds of the live ammunition firing from the range nearby, and the huge number of people. Apparently the car park took 2 hours to clear, all I know is I drove straight out without a problem just before 10pm, although I had spent the last hour or so listening the the sounds of the muggles revving their engines and beeping at each other.
It's going to be nigh on impossible to top my first ever visit to Durdle Door...